Labour launched their manifesto today with Gordon Brown promising ‘jobs far all’. The launch of the UK manifesto coincided with the launch of what was described as the ‘Scottish Labour’ manifesto by Jim Murphy.
However there was confusion over exactly what Labour were promising in this tartan version of the UK launch after Mr Murphy admitted that much of it was actually aimed at next years Holyrood election campaign.
In an interview on BBC Radio Scotland this morning Mr Murphy was asked what commitments he could give that might reassure Scottish workers concerned about possible job losses in the public sector.
Mr Murphy replied:
“We will protect the investment in the NHS, in the school budget in the police budget.”
Those areas of course are devolved and not the responsibility of Westminster. Mr Murphy was pressed again and asked if council workers in Scotland could lose their job.
He again replied:
“Those who work in schools across Scotland, across Britain would have the budgets protected.”
It was then pointed out to Mr Murphy that Labour cannot give that guarantee because education is a devolved area and as such is under Holyrood control.
Murphy then appeared to concede that much of the content of the ‘Scottish Manifesto’ was indeed irrelevant to the UK election and was aimed at a Holyrood campaign.
“This is a manifesto which is packed full of ideas for a UK election and also packed full of new ideas for what we would do if we were in power in the Scottish parliament.”
“We would protect those budgets across England and Wales and we would try and campaign in the Scottish parliament to do the same their as well.”
Mr Murphy also appeared to blame RBS and HBOS for the tax hike introduced by Labour; something they had pledged not to do in their last election manifesto.
Mr Murphy said:
“These two banks nearly fell over, we were literally hours away from people not getting their money out of the cash machines.
“It’s been an extraordinary two years and as a consequence we had to make a change in our tax policy”
The confusion over the ‘Scottish Manifesto’ is the latest in a series of unfortunate gaffes and revelations involving Jim Murphy. Last week he had to backtrack furiously after initially supporting the disgraced Labour candidate who was eventually sacked for sending offensive messages on his twitter account.
This was followed by revelations on Sunday that a convicted criminal had attended a Labour fundraising dinner for Mr Murphy.